161 Great Directors: Tsai Ming-liang

“I feel like I’m a citizen of the world, yet there’s no single place that I can put my roots down and call home. I don’t own anything. I’m not a homeowner. I’ve always rented and never stayed in one place for long. Almost every time I rent a place, I have some sort of water leakage or flooding.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Body of work.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Only saw Rebels of the Neon God. Quite good.

What Did I Watch: Vive L’Amour.

Where Does He Fit: Tsai’s tough wavelength starts to be formed in Vive L’Amour, which has a brief snippet of dialogue in Minute 1, then some more at Minute 23. It’s not exactly frequent throughout the rest of the film, either, which is basically an urban silent that is totally engrossing from moment to moment. I am not sure it all adds up to much because the characters are kept deliberately mysterious and the finale is very dependent on us feeling some deep love for the leading lady, but it still works very well because he knows what he’s doing, and keeps it very dryly funny.

tsai14

Most Valuable Asset: Tableau.
Most Excited For: Goodbye Dragon Inn (although I definitely plan to go chronologically here).
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: French cynic Louis Malle.

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